Woman who groomed autistic boy is jailed for 16 months
A paedophile struck up an online relationship with a vulnerable autistic boy and sent topless images of herself to him, a court has heard.
Karen Robb, 43, of Hornby Road, Blackpool, went as far as meeting the vulnerable 15-year-old near Blackpool Fire Station after striking up a relationship with him on social media, and had discussed meeting the child in a park to "do naughty things".
Her grooming behaviour was discovered when her suspicious partner of 15 years found messages on her phone.
The boy's parents then discovered they had also met up and exchanged pictures.
Wearing a baggy Hawaii T shirt and blue hoodie, and watched by her new boyfriend from the public gallery, she appeared emotionless as she was jailed for 16 months, after admitting inciting a child to commit sexual activity and meeting a child following grooming.
Prosecuting, Frances McEntee said: "There is a degree of rationalisation by the boy who says he felt he had to engage in the relationship.
"He did willingly engage in what was an inappropriate online relationship. He repeatedly expressed his love for the defendant."
Over time Robb responded with a kiss, then turned to explicit chat, with the naive youngster responding he wanted to "hold hands".
She sent images of herself naked from the waist up and encouraged him to perform sexual acts. She also encouraged him to meet.
Mr McEntee added: " She's clearly taken advantage of a vulnerable young man.
"It's apparent his parents had become aware. His mother was in the practice of checking his phone and discovered some of the exchanges. he became very distressed
was very distressed."
Defending, John Woodward said Robb was a totally different lady now to when the offences were committed.
He told the court at the time she had been homeless and sofa surfing after her relationship had come to an end.
He added: "She says her partner had been violent to her towards the end of their relationship. She took comfort from communication with other males on Facebook and other social media.
"That's what led her partner to become suspicious about her extra marital flirtations.She was herself quite vulnerable."
He added she now had a stable home and a new partner, and asked the court to suspend her jail term.
But Judge Heather Lloyd refused, telling Robb that when the boy sent her messages, she should have "taken him off your Facebook account, not encourage him".
She added: " In your pre sentence report you denied deriving sexual pleasure from this behaviour. I do not accept that. It is an explanation often given by offenders.
"Of course you derived sexual pleasure from it, otherwise you would not have acted as you did, and it is clear you were flattered by the attention.
"This was not a moment of madness. This conversation and this behaviour went on for weeks and you went several steps further than talking.
"The author of your pre sentence report is concerned you lack insight into the seriousness of what you have done and you cannot understand the potential impact on your victim and his family.
"It is true most offenders involved in this criminality are male, but there are female offenders and there is no reason to treat a female offender any differently than a male offender."
Robb was given a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order, both for 10 years, and must sign the Sex Offender's Register for 10 years.